This corpus of exegetical comments constitutes arguably the earliest extant mystical commentary on the Qur'an. It was preserved and transmitted by the Sufis of the early centuries of Islam, and is found in the fourth/tenth through
fifth/eleventh century compendium compiled by al-SulamÏ (d. 412/1021), in which Jaʿfar al-Sadiq is one of the most frequently cited authorities.
Spiritual Gems is the first ever English of this important corpus from al-ß¥diq. Complete with analytical introduction and scholarly notes, the book contains a detailed exposition of the methods and levels of scriptural interpretation used in this commentary and of the cognate ontological continuity between the levels of the human microcosm. The spirituality of this text is a deeply mystical encounter with the truths enunciated by philosophy and religion. In addition to surmounting temporal differences, the inner landscape of the commentary rises above formal differences; by
virtue of its universal message, it is as relevant today as it was in earlier times.
“Spiritual Gems is a truly seminal text in the Islamic tradition of esoteric exegesis. It helps to reveal the reason why Ja‘far al-Sadiq is to be appreciated not only as an Imam within Shi‘a Islam, but also as one of the most important masters of Sufi gnosis, and a pivotal figure in the tradition of spiritual commentary on the Holy Qur’an.”
-Reza Shah-Kazemi, Ismaeli Institute of London
Farhana Mayer studied Arabic and Islamic studies, specialising in Qur'anic hermeneutics, at the University of Oxford, where she received her bachelor’s and
master’s degrees. In addition to her independent research on interpretations of the ur'an, she is currently with the Qur'anic Studies Unit of the Institute of Ismaili
Studies, London. She is co-translator and editor of volume I of the IIS/OUP Anthology of Qur'anic Commentaries series: On the Nature of the Divine (2008).